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Baraka’s “Black Art”

Amiri Baraka’s “Black Art,” is an interesting microcosm of rage and frustration aimed at a world that this man simply can not stand. He seems to believe in the power of poetry, but only that poetry that is aimed at something, poetry that is used as ammunition in the fight. They should reflect one’s own soul, as he says, and all of the rage that goes along with it. This in turn creates a new type of poetry, a form that hadn’t really existed before these innovators began to write. This isn’t the poetry of Dickinson or Shakespeare, this is poetry that was written to shape the world, through inspiration and hatred. He tries to inspire black people to create a black world, one that can only be shaped by war.

Alas, however, Baraka, seems utterly malicious and content in his rage. He rages at everyone, white people and Jews most especially. He doesn’t sound like a man in control, he seems blinded in his anger, and seeks to take it out on cops, Irish people, and Jews, seeking to “leave them for dead,” and “dagger poems…in the bellies of Jews.” (Baraka) I love the intensity of his writing and the passion he feels, but not the anger and rage, he seems as if a child, wildly firing a gun into a crowd, and hoping he hits the person responsible for his pain.

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